The January signing of David Beckham by Paris Saint-Germain will not improve Ligue 1, according to former France star Marcel Desailly.
Former Olympique Marseille, AC Milan and Chelsea star Marcel Desailly says that Paris Saint-Germain’s signing of footballing superstar David Beckham will not improve the game in France.
The ex-England captain recently departed LA Galaxy after a five year spell in the MLS, and having set out with the mission of growing the game in Los Angeles, he left with mixed success.
Football, or soccer, depending on where you’re reading this from, has grown a huge amount in the United States, and MLS games draw the third largest crowds on average across all the major sports in the country.
Sitting behind NFL and MLB and ahead of the NHL and NBA is not a bad place for the MLS to be, but how much credit Beckham can truly claim remains debatable.
It is likely to be a similar story in France – except that football is already exceptionally popular there.
Whilst Beckham’s professionalism and work ethic have ensured that his ageing body has yet to be embarrassed on the pitch for any of his clubs – Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG is far from the worst CV in football – what he brings to France above his football ability is an immense marketing power.
Simply because of the name Beckham, fans from abroad will likely seek out PSG matches on television, and with star names such as the Englishman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura heading to Paris in recent transfer windows, there is a chance that the French Ligue 1 will see some improvement.
However, Desailly remains unconvinced that one man can have such a strong influence and long term effect.
“We are pleased to see Beckham come in, you know, he’s the most famous soccer player and he’s been part of the 15 best players of his generation,” said Desailly.
“We are pleased at the level of the branding, marketing and, you know, media.
“Just the fact that he’s there is a very, very good thing, I think, for PSG.
“For the French league, no.”
Watch the video below to hear more of Desailly’s thoughts on David Beckham signing for Paris Saint-Germain: